The musical centers on star-crossed lovers Catie (Anna Eilinsfeld) and Ricky (Jared Zirilli), whose time on Earth is cut short by the latter's death in a motorcycle accident. Ricky finds himself admitted -- without an audition -- to Rock 'n' Roll Heaven, but would do anything to get Catie back, possibly even making a deal with the Devil (Brian Charles Rooney).
Zirilli has a sweet tenor that is showcased nicely in several numbers. But while Eilinsfeld has an okay singing voice, it does not have anywhere near the power and range that it should, given the role that Catie ends up playing in the final conflict. Indeed, the most impressive voice on stage belongs to Jacquelyn Graham as Sally, one of the angels.
Carrafa's staging is at its best when it emphasizes the show's whimsical elements, aided by scenic designer Neil Patel, whose work here has a bare-bones simplicity appropriate to the fringe. The way that the audience is first visually clued in to Ricky's arrival in Heaven is of particular delight. Unfortunately, the pacing starts to get sluggish as the piece turns more earnest.
The score samples from a diverse array of genres, including pop, rock, gospel, hip-hop, doo-wop, and even disco. But while the music is pleasant and even fun to listen to, the melodies are too derivative to make a lasting impression.
-- Dan Bacalzo